Fire Protection: Types of Fire Alarm Systems

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On most days, we think about what we’re going to eat for the day. Or maybe about our families or our outfits. Or maybe we’re thinking that we’re dreading the whole work week again.

But do you know one thing we don’t think of on most days?


Fire alarm systems.


Sounds funny, but it’s also very true. Who thinks about fire alarms (aside from firefighters)? We know that they’re there and that if there’s a need for fire protection, they’ll go off.


Simple, right?

Not exactly. 


We can all agree that when a building or property catches fire, there’s going to be a lot of property damage, right? And at the same time, we can also agree that not all buildings are the same. Therefore, when it comes to fire alarms, while they are crucial, there’s no one-size-fits-all alarm.

Each fire alarm system has a different purpose, so if your neighbor gets one, it’s not necessarily a good thing that you imitate them. They may have a different building or situation than yours.

So how exactly do you know what type of fire alarm system you should get?

Well, just keep on reading. We’ll take a look at the different types of fire alarm systems, and find out which one is the best to use for your situation.

What are the categories of fire alarm systems?

So keep this in mind: there are two main categories of fire alarm systems. The first is manual, and the other is automatic. What’s the difference?

Manual Fire Alarm System

A manual alarm system is… well, it’s manual. It means that for the alarm to be activated, someone has to be paying attention to the area. If a fire occurs, that person has to activate it, such as pulling a lever at a pull station. That means the person monitoring the area has to be alert at all times.

Just because it’s a manual system doesn’t mean that it cannot be connected to a fire alarm system. In fact, a lot of manual systems are usually connected to the fire alarm system of a building or property, and also to a fire alarm monitoring panel. 

Automatic Fire Alarm System

An automatic fire system, on the other hand, is triggered automatically. The alarm works via smoke or heat detection, depending on how the system was designed. 

An automatic fire alarm system is made for detecting fires in early stages. It’s also designed to let building occupants know of potential dangers, and to alert emergency responders.

Manual and Automatic work together!

Now, just because an automatic alarm system works doesn’t mean that it’s superior to a manual alarm system. Just because the person in charge of the manual alarm system can fall asleep or not be alert all the time doesn’t mean you should automatically go for an automatic system. Remember, technology can still fail! 

That’s the reason a lot of businesses go for manual and automatic systems. They often work in tandem to prevent fires.

Manual and automatic systems are often matched together. A manual device allows for immediate response if an incident has occurred and an automatic device protects a facility when no one is around to respond to a potential hazard.

What are the types of fire alarm systems?

Just as there are two different categories of alarm systems, there are also several different types to choose from.

Conventional Fire Alarms

A conventional fire alarm system is designed as an early warning system for small facilities. They are considered an inexpensive option for businesses where it is not a priority to know the exact location of the fire. Instead, these alarms will sound throughout an entire building, suggesting a possible hazard without giving an exact location.

Addressable Fire Alarms

If you require an alarm system that does give you the ability to locate the exact location of the fire, then an addressable fire alarm is for you. Known as an “intelligent system,” these devices include both automatic and manual alarm options while having the ability to monitor all the alarms present in your building.

Although they are more expensive than a conventional alarm system, these systems can save large facilities time and money because if an emergency does occur, every element in the system is pre-assigned to its own address that sends out a signal to indicate the exact location the fire is occurring.

Hybrid Fire Alarms

Arguably, by choosing a hybrid first alarm system, you are getting the best value because they combine the capabilities of both addressable and conventional fire alarm systems.


How do you know which fire alarm system you should use?

Sure, you can do some guesswork on what fire alarm system to get. But why risk it? You may choose the wrong one. And what would happen if a fire breaks out?

The best way to go about this is to connect with some experts and get their advice.

If you need the experience and skills of some Bay Area fire inspection experts, there’s no need to look far. You can hire Fire Alarm Testing Inc. We are a California fire inspection company that specializes in making sure that people are safe from the hazards of destructive fires.

And despite our name, we don’t only install and test fire alarm systems. Our services include fire inspection in Bay Area, as well as fire alarm monitoring. We also do repairs of alarm control panels, smoke detectors, and other fire protection devices. We make sure to thoroughly go through the setup and do any necessary repairs or replacements for your safety, as well as the safety of your building or property occupants.

Not only do we have the latest equipment for fire inspection and safety, but we also have a roster of competent, well-trained technicians. The combination of these two allows us to ensure the integrity of everything we test, monitor, and repair.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Let’s make sure your property is protected from fire!